By Dr Dominic Kuek
“So how are you going to apply the sermon today?” I remember being quite taken aback when the lady sitting next to me in church asked me that very question after service. Quite frankly, my mind had been preoccupied with lunch plans at that moment, and the thought of discussing the sermon (and the implications it has on my life) with someone else had never once crossed my mind, not least with a stranger! Yet despite the initial awkwardness, I left that day refreshed by God’s word, challenged to apply the sermon in the ways we shared with one another, and encouraged to know I had a sister in Christ who loved the Lord and was eager to put his words into practice. It’s been 7 years since that day, and still I often think about how that simple interaction has shaped my approach to church.
During this season of online worship, we regularly use Hebrews 10:25 as a reminder for us to “not give up meeting together”, and for good reason. But we mustn’t neglect the second half of the author’s exhortation too. The writer says that we need to be “encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching”. Indeed, the author even says that we need to “encourage one another daily” (Heb. 3:13)! Mutual encouragement is an essential obligation that we owe towards one another. We must encourage each other — be it in person or online — to keep going and not give up in our faith, especially since our glorious future is so near.
One very practical way we can be doing so is by sharing our reflections on the sermon with one another. Different parts of the sermon will resonate with different individuals, so share with someone something that encouraged you; be ready to be encouraged in turn! Let someone know how the passage has helped you to better appreciate who God is, or helped you to love Jesus’ death more, or how it has humbled you, or how it has spurred you on in your godliness. Think about how you would live in response to the sermon this week. Share your thoughts with your family or friends over lunch. It’s a good way to be accountable to one another, and you might be helping them to identify their own areas of need. Share your insights with the pastors too; we also need your encouragement!
It’s important to remember that disciple-making isn’t confined to a formal setting between mentor and mentee. Often, it happens informally, as we encourage one another with the truths of God’s word and learn from one another. Sometimes, all it takes is being armed with and ready to discuss a simple question: “So how are you going to apply the sermon today?”